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UNHCR South Sudan: Spontaneous Refugee Returnee Household Survey, April to June 2020

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UNHCR South Sudan is pleased to share the main findings from the quarterly household survey on spontaneous refugee returns from neighboring countries from April-June 2020.

By June 2020, over 300,000 South Sudanese refugees were estimated to have returned to South Sudan from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, CAR and DR Congo since November 2017, 180,387 of who followed the signing of revitalized peace agreement in October 2018. Over 38,308 of the returns were after COVID-19 outbreak in April 2020.
Household survey methodology To learn more about their return conditions and future plans for the refugee returnees in return areas, UNHCR and partners conduct quarterly in-depth household-level surveys with returnees across the country.

Information is collected through key informant interviews and partner monitoring reports. Jointly with Government's Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, UNHCR validates the reports by interviewing randomly selected returnee households in areas of return during the period.

In total, 3,019 households (18,837 individuals) were assessed in high return areas of Eastern and Central Equatoria,
Unity, Greater Bahr El Ghazal, Jonglei, Upper Nile.

Main findings

  • Top assessed returns were from Uganda (13,529), followed by Sudan (2,820) and DRC (1,493). 58% of them were female headed households.

  • Majority (65%) of assessed refugee returnees traveled by collective (pooled) or private cars, while a considerable 13% traveled on foot across the border mainly from Sudan and Ethiopia.

  • Most of the returnees paid their transport fares by own means, while some were supported by relatives.

  • Up to 69% of surveyed refugee returnees said they intended to stay permanently.

  • Majority (82%) of assessed refugee returnees intended to remain in their return villages, 8% were undecided and 5% expressed desire to move to a different village within South Sudan.

  • Overwhelming (98%) of the surveyed refugee returnees said they feel safe in their current location, 92% of those cited good relationship with their host communities.

  • About 77% of assessed households reported owning a house and/or land in South Sudan, although 11% do not have access to house for various reasons including damages and occupied by others.
    Main reasons for returns 1. Unemployment and livelihood opportunities in country of asylum (61%)

  1. Improvement of security situation in South Sudan (40%)

  2. Insufficient access to basic services in country of asylum (34%)

  3. To reunite with family members (32%)